Vayne – The Tanky DPS Hunter

Posted: May 10, 2011 by xenocidebrm in Champions

Ah, the night before a new hero – I’m so excited! This time, instead of some knuckle dragging tanky-dps, we get a nice, squishy, smartcast ranged! Hooray! After looking over the number of AD ranged characters today, I found myself extremely disappointed with the selection. There simply aren’t enough AD ranged characters, and Vayne is definitely a step in the right direction. On top of this, she does something extraordinary, though potentially metagame breaking: true damage.

Riot recently has been on a crusade to end the tyrannical grip of tanky-dps. Unfortunately, this has proven quite difficult: on the one hand, tanks must always remain viable, so you can’t just nerf the tank items or tank abilities which are critical to the survival and viability of a number of characters. On the other hand, you can’t just buff the damage or HP of everyone, the former pushing the meta more towards resistances, the latter closing the gap between tank and dps anyway. With Vayne, Riot hopes to have a character that does a percent, true damage attack. This directly counters both resistances and HP tanking that tanky-dps had been abusing.

This being said, however, it doesn’t seem like Vayne is just countering tanky-dps. Indeed, everything that makes a tank tanky is countered by Vayne. Take HP items? Vayne does percent damage. Take resistance items? Vayne does true damage. The word from Riot is that she does 8% true damage every third shot at her maximum level for this ability. That is an ENORMOUS amount of damage. It seems like Vayne doesn’t just counter tanky-dps, but tanks in general as well. Riot tried this out with Brand and had to nerf him during testing phases; his true damage passive simply killed tanks too fast.

However, I believe that after a round of rebalancing, Vayne will be just fine. Percent damage in general promotes squishy gameplay, which I think would benefit the meta enormously. The fact that it’s true damage worries me, but perhaps this will give Riot a reason to reevaluate tanks. I know many tanks are banned in ranked play, but in normal play no one plays tanks because they are “bad”. A buff to tanks for the normal player would definitely urge tanky-dps to play more squishy and give people a reason to play specialized characters.

But enough about tanky-dps, how does Vayne look? Well, her style looks like a mix between Devil May Cry (Bayonetta was based on Devil May Cry so cry some more), Caitlyn, and Poppy. A tumble mechanic looks really fun, especially since it’s a smartcast. I play Cassiopeia as my main AP character, so finding that my smartcast practice won’t go to waste sounds great. Her early game looks weak until she grabs a few levels, but once that happens she appears to play very much like Caitlyn. Her tumble ability essentially grants her enormous range, and being able to pump out autoattacks all the time encourages the use of AS items, which might make Thornmail a bit more viable.

Vayne’s ranged pin on the wall sounds great, until you notice it stuns people against the wall, making it incredibly amazing. Like Cait, she can now have an easy escape mechanism, firing  at an enemy to push them back and tumbling away. It also means that with Flash, Vayne can tower dive like an Alistar, rolling into tower range, firing the person out, and Flashing away from the tower. I’m not a fan of this, but hopefully she’s squishy enough that it’s not a viable strategy.

Her ult acts like a limited passive, granting her Yi-like chasing power, while her normal passive lets her chase anyway. This is exciting in my opinion because spells like Flash and escape mechanisms have become common enough that chasing is almost universally worthless (with exceptions such as Warwick and Kassadin). Vayne may finally make chasing worthwhile and viable, forcing people to group up to avoid being hunted down.

Overall, Vayne is a great concept, and I look forward to trying her out because I definitely need an interesting AD ranged character to play. The idea of a champion designed against tanky-dps certainly makes the meta and general gameplay much more fun. While her percent-based true damage is worrisome, her squishiness may more than make up for it. If she works too much like a Devil May Cry character, rolling and dodging everywhere, watch out, because I’ll be hunting for you!

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